TMA's Ernest and Sarah Butler Awards for Excellence in Science Teaching recognize and reward elementary, middle, and high school teachers who share their energy and enthusiasm for science with their students. Watch the video below to see how two physicians were inspired by one of our science teacher award winners.
Dr. Ernest and Mrs. Sarah Butler
Dr. Ernest and Mrs. Sarah Butler of Austin began supporting TMA’s Excellence in Science Teaching Awards program in 1998, and in 2003 they created an endowment at the TMA Foundation (TMAF) to sustain it. To honor the Butler’s generosity, TMA renamed the program the TMA Ernest and Sarah Butler Awards for Excellence in Science Teaching. These annual awards recognize outstanding elementary, middle, and high school teachers who improve science literacy and inspire the next generation’s interest in medicine.
The couple’s strong belief in the value of public education fueled their interest in the TMA awards. Mrs. Butler, now retired, taught Spanish in the Spring Branch Independent School District and understands the influence a teacher can have on his or her students. With fewer students pursuing science, the Butlers hope winning teachers can inspire other educators to engage more promising students to become leaders in science.
The Butlers are longtime, active philanthropists. They are recognized as Visionaries on the TMAF Major Donors board for having donated more than $2 million to the TMA Foundation. Dr. Butler, a retired otolaryngologist, is a past treasurer and trustee of TMAF. He serves on the foundation’s Advisory Council.
The couple also supports numerous arts and education organizations in Austin. In 2008, the School of Music at The University of Texas at Austin was renamed the Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music in honor of the couple’s 25 years of philanthropic support and a $55 million donation.
More About the Awards
TMA’s Board of Trustees oversees the annual Ernest and Sarah Butler Awards for Excellence in Science Teaching. Since 2009, TMA has collaborated with science curriculum experts at The University of Texas Charles A. Dana Center to review the applications and select winners. The Dana Center works to dismantle barriers in the education system to ensure equitable access to education in the K-16 system.
Winning teachers at the elementary, middle, and high school levels and their schools receive cash awards to enhance science learning and cultivate future physicians and scientists. Additional honors and cash awards are presented to a rookie teacher who has been teaching less than seven years and a grand prize winner.
Donate to support the future of science education in Texas. Select TMA Ernest and Sarah Butler Awards for Excellence in Science Teaching Program, from the drop-down menu.